How to Increase Dedicated Video RAM in Windows 10
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Seeing errors The 5 Most Common Windows Errors and How to Fix Them The 5 Most Common Windows Errors and How to Fix Them Don't let a Blue Screen of Death ruin your Windows experience. We've collected causes and solutions for the most common Windows errors so you can fix them when they pop up. Read More related to video RAM on your Windows PC? Struggling to run graphic-intensive programs like video editors and new video games? You may need more video RAM.

But what even is that, and how can you increase it? We’ll share everything you need to know about video RAM, so read on!

What Is Video RAM?

Video RAM (or VRAM, pronounced “vee-RAM”) is a special type of RAM that works with your computer’s graphics processing unit, or GPU. The GPU is a chip on your computer’s graphics card (or video card) 5 Things You Have to Know Before Buying a Graphics Card 5 Things You Have to Know Before Buying a Graphics Card Here are five key points to keep in mind before you buy your next graphics card, otherwise you may regret your purchase. Read More that’s responsible for displaying images on your screen.

Though technically incorrect, the terms GPU and graphics card are often used interchangeably.

Your video RAM holds information that the GPU needs, like game textures and lighting effects 7 Common Video Game Graphics Settings Explained 7 Common Video Game Graphics Settings Explained Don't know what those settings on your video games are all about? Let us explain what they mean and how they affect your games! Read More . This allows the GPU to quickly access the info and output video to your monitor. Using video RAM for this task is much faster than using your system RAM because the video RAM is right next to the GPU in the graphics card, and is built for this high-intensity purpose.

How Much Video RAM Do I Have?

You can easily view the amount of video RAM you have in Windows 10 by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings menu by pressing Windows Key + I.
  2. Select the System entry, then click Display on the left sidebar.
  3. Scroll down and click the Display adapter properties text.
  4. A panel will pop up. Select the Adapter tab and look under the Adapter Information section.
  5. You’ll see your current video RAM listed next to Dedicated Video Memory.

Windows 10 Display Adapter Properties Dedicated Video Memory

Under Adapter Type, you’ll probably see the name of your NVIDIA or AMD graphics card, depending on what device you have. If you see AMD Accelerated Processing Unit or Intel HD Graphics (more likely), you’re using integrated graphics.

What’s Different With Integrated Graphics?

So far, our discussion has assumed that you have a dedicated graphics card in your PC. Most people who build their own machine How To Build Your Own PC How To Build Your Own PC It's very gratifying to build your own PC; as well as intimidating. But the process itself is actually quite simple. We'll walk you through everything you need to know. Read More or buy a pre-built gaming PC have a desktop with a video card. Some beefier laptops even include a graphics card. But on a budget desktop or off-the-shelf laptop, manufacturers don’t include video cards — they use integrated graphics instead.

An integrated graphics solution Can Shared Graphics Finally Compete with a Dedicated Graphics Card? Can Shared Graphics Finally Compete with a Dedicated Graphics Card? There are two kinds of graphics cards for PCs: dedicated and shared. Read More means that the GPU is on the same die as the CPU, and shares your normal system RAM instead of using its own dedicated VRAM. This is a budget-friendly solution and allows laptops to output basic graphics without the need for a space- and energy-hogging video card. But integrated graphics are poor for gaming- and graphic-intensive tasks.

How powerful your integrated graphics are depends on your CPU. Newer Intel CPUs Intel Core i9 vs. Core i7 vs. Core i5: Which CPU Should You Buy? Intel Core i9 vs. Core i7 vs. Core i5: Which CPU Should You Buy? Intel and AMD are back in a new battle of processors, with Intel launching a new series called the Core i9 -- and it's the fastest consumer desktop processor ever. Read More with Intel Iris Plus Graphics are more powerful than their cheaper and older counterparts but still pale in comparison to dedicated graphics.

As long as your computer is within a few years old, you should have no problems watching videos, playing low-intensity games Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Hundred-hour games with loads of content are awesome, but sometimes you just want a focused, fun-filled experience. These 5 titles deliver just that. Read More , and working in basic photo and video editing applications with integrated graphics. However, playing the latest graphically impressive games with integrated graphics is basically impossible.

What Tasks Need Video RAM?

Before we talk specific numbers, we should mention what aspects of games and other graphics-intensive apps use the most VRAM.

A big factor in VRAM consumption is your monitor’s resolution. Video RAM stores the frame buffer, which holds an image before and during the time that your GPU displays it on the screen. Better displays (such as gaming on a 4K screen) take up more VRAM because higher-resolution images take more pixels to display.

Aside from your display, textures in a game can drastically affect how much VRAM you need. Most modern PC games let you fine-tune your settings 5 Solid Tweaks to Optimize Your Computer For Gaming 5 Solid Tweaks to Optimize Your Computer For Gaming If your computer doesn't handle games like it used to, it might just need some quick maintenance. Here are five ways any PC gamer can improve their machine's performance. Read More for performance or visual quality. You may be able to play a game from a few years ago at Low or Medium settings with a cheaper card (or even integrated graphics). But High or Ultra quality, or custom mods that make in-game textures look even better than they normally do, will need lots of RAM.

Beautification features like anti-aliasing (the smoothing of jagged edges) also uses more VRAM due to the extra pixels. If you play on two monitors at once, that’s even more intensive.

Specific games can also require different amounts of VRAM. A game like Overwatch isn’t too graphically demanding, but a game with lots of advanced lighting effects and detailed textures like Rise of the Tomb Raider needs more resources.

Conversely, a cheap card with just 2GB of VRAM (or integrated graphics) is sufficient for playing old PC games How to Play Classic '90s Shooters on A Modern Computer How to Play Classic '90s Shooters on A Modern Computer Don't like the new Doom game? Wish you could relive the golden age of '90s first-person shooters? Here's how you can do that on your brand-new, modern computer right now! Read More or emulating retro consoles How to Play Sony PlayStation (PSX) Games on Your PC How to Play Sony PlayStation (PSX) Games on Your PC Itching to replay your favorite PlayStation classics? Here's everything you need to get a PSX emulator running smoothly on your PC. Read More .

Games back then had nowhere near 2GB of VRAM at their disposal.

Even if you’re not interested in gaming, some popular software requires a fair amount of VRAM too. 3D design software like AutoCAD, particularly intense edits in Photoshop, and editing high-quality video will all suffer if you don’t have enough video RAM.

The Right Amount of Video RAM: Basic Guidelines

Hopefully, it’s clear that there’s no perfect amount of VRAM for everyone. However, we can provide some basic guidelines about how much VRAM you should aim for in a graphics card.

However, you should take the above generalizations with a grain of salt. Graphics card manufacturers add the appropriate amount of VRAM to a card depending on how powerful the GPU is. Thus, a cheap $75 graphics card will have a small amount of VRAM, while a $500 graphics card will pack a lot more. If a weak GPU isn’t powerful enough to render video that takes 8GB of VRAM to store, it’s a waste to have that much VRAM in the card.

Extremes aren’t the concern with VRAM. You don’t need an $800, top-of-the-line, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti with 11GB of VRAM to play 2D indie platformers. Really, you only need to worry about how much VRAM to get when a card that you’re interested in has multiple VRAM options.

Video RAM Concerns

Remember that just like normal RAM, more VRAM doesn’t always mean better performance How Much RAM Do You Really Need? How Much RAM Do You Really Need? RAM is like short term memory. The more you multitask, the more you need. Find out how much your computer has, how to get the most out of it, or how to get more. Read More . If your card has 4GB of VRAM and you’re playing a game that only uses 2GB, upgrading to an 8GB card isn’t going to do anything noticeable.

Conversely, not having enough VRAM is a huge problem. If VRAM fills up, the system has to rely on standard RAM and performance will suffer. You’ll notice a lower frame rate How to Fix Low Game FPS in Windows How to Fix Low Game FPS in Windows Frames per second (FPS) are to gaming what horsepower is to racing. We show you tweaks that will save you from low game FPS. Unleash the true power of your rig and watch FPS soar! Read More , texture pop-ins, and other adverse effects. In extreme cases, the game could slow to a crawl and become unplayable (anything under 30 FPS).

Remember that VRAM is only one factor in performance. If you don’t have a powerful enough CPU, rendering HD video will take forever What You Need to Play Video Smoothly On Your PC What You Need to Play Video Smoothly On Your PC Choppy video playback can have many causes, but most are easy to fix. Here's a list of things to look at and how to optimize them for smooth video streaming. Read More . A lack of system RAM prevents you from running many programs at once, and using a mechanical hard drive will severely limit your system performance 7 Things You Need to Consider Before Buying a Hard Drive 7 Things You Need to Consider Before Buying a Hard Drive Buying a hard drive? It's not that difficult if you know a few basic tips. We've assembled the most important features of a modern storage drive and what you should buy. Read More too. And some cheaper graphics cards could use slow DDR3 VRAM, which is inferior to DDR5 A Quick & Dirty Guide to RAM: What You Need to Know A Quick & Dirty Guide to RAM: What You Need to Know RAM is a crucial component of every computer, but it can be confusing to understand if you aren't a tech guru. In this post, we break it down in easy-to-grasp terms. Read More .

The best way to find out which graphics card and amount of video RAM is right for you is to talk to someone knowledgeable. Ask a friend who knows about the latest graphics cards, or post on a forum like Reddit The Kindest Communities on Reddit The Kindest Communities on Reddit There are a lot of really great people on Reddit – here's where you can find them. Read More or Tom’s Hardware asking if a specific card would work for your needs.

How to Increase Your Video RAM

The best way to increase your video RAM is to purchase a graphics card How to Buy a Cheap Gaming PC With an Nvidia Graphics Card How to Buy a Cheap Gaming PC With an Nvidia Graphics Card Looking to build a cheap gaming PC? Dann Albright built an Nvidia-based gaming machine on-the-cheap. And he's going to show you how it's done for under $600. Read More . If you’re using integrated graphics and suffer from poor performance, upgrading to a dedicated card will do wonders for your video output. However, if this isn’t an option for you (like on laptops), you may be able to increase your dedicated VRAM in two ways.

The first is adjusting the VRAM allocation in your computer’s BIOS. Enter your BIOS How To Enter The BIOS On Your Computer How To Enter The BIOS On Your Computer Inside the BIOS you can change basic computer settings, like the boot order. The exact key you need to strike depends on your hardware. We have compiled a list of strategies & keys to enter... Read More and look for an option in the menu named Advanced Features, Advanced Chipset Features, or similar. Inside that, look for a secondary category called something close to Graphics Settings, Video Settings, or VGA Share Memory Size.

These should contain an option to adjust how much memory you allocate to the GPU. The default is usually 128MB, try upping this to 256MB or 512MB if you have enough to spare. Not every CPU or BIOS has this option, though. If you can’t change it, there’s a workaround that might help you.

Faking the Increase

Because most integrated graphics solutions automatically adjust to use the amount of system RAM they need, the details reported in the Adapter Properties window don’t really matter. In fact, for integrated graphics, the Dedicated Video Memory value is completely fictitious. The system reports that dummy value simply so games see something when they check how much VRAM you have.

Thus, you can modify a Registry value to change the amount VRAM your system reports to games. This doesn’t actually increase your VRAM, it just modifies that dummy value. If a game refuses to start because you “don’t have enough VRAM,” upping this value might fix that.

Open a Registry Editor window by typing regedit into the Start Menu. Remember that you can mess up your system in the Registry How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry Working with the Windows registry? Take note of these tips, and you'll be much less likely to do lasting damage to your PC. Read More , so take care while in here.

Head to the following location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Intel

Right-click the Intel folder on the left sidebar and choose New > Key. Name this key GMM. Once you’ve made it, select the new GMM folder on the left and right-click inside the right side. Select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name this DedicatedSegmentSize and give it a value, making sure to select the Decimal option. In MB, the minimum value is 0 (disabling the entry) and the maximum is 512. Set this value, restart your computer, and see if it helps a game run.

Windows Registry Editor GMM

These methods aren’t guaranteed to work, but they’re still worth a try if you run into issues. If you don’t have a lot of system RAM and are having trouble running games with integrated graphics, try adding some additional RAM for the integrated graphics to use. Like most tasks, this is usually next to impossible on a laptop 5 Things to Know Before Upgrading Your Laptop Hardware 5 Things to Know Before Upgrading Your Laptop Hardware If you're thinking of upgrading your laptop's hardware, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before diving in. Upgrading may not be the answer! Read More and simple on a desktop.

Now You Understand Video RAM

Now you know what video RAM is, how much you need, and how to increase it. In the end, though, remember that video RAM is a small aspect of your computer’s overall performance Which Upgrades Will Improve Your PC Performance the Most? Which Upgrades Will Improve Your PC Performance the Most? If you need a faster computer but aren't sure which component would be most beneficial to upgrade, then here are the guidelines you should follow. Read More . A weak GPU won’t perform well even with a lot of VRAM. So if you’re looking to increase gaming and graphical performance, you’ll likely need to upgrade your graphics card, processor, and/or RAM first — the VRAM will sort itself out.

Once you’ve fixed your video RAM issues, check out other ways to optimize Windows 10 for gaming 7 Methods to Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming 7 Methods to Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming A growing number of gamers are using Windows 10. With these simple tweaks, you will be able to enjoy the best gaming experience Windows 10 has to offer! Read More .

Do you have a dedicated graphics card, or are you on integrated graphics? Have you ever run into a VRAM-related error? How much RAM is in your computer? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. Black superman
    November 22, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    This is long boring article about nothing. Basically a tease with no payoff.

    • Ben Stegner
      November 22, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Unfortunately we can't help you change what you can't change without new hardware. I tried to explain everything about the topic I could, but really the only solution is a new graphics card or new computer if you're having issues. Sorry it wasn't what you were expecting.